Getting your landscaping irrigation well ready for spring

There are some areas in Albuquerque where our customers have irrigation wells that water their landscaping. This especially is the case for homes along the Rio Grande, where it’s very cost effective to drive a well and not have to pay for City water. With spring right around the corner, many people are wondering what to do with their well pumps to get them ready for the busy irrigation season. I thought I would jot down a few tips for owners of irrigation pumps.

The most common types of pumps used in residential landscape well applications are centrifugal pumps, submersible and above ground pumps.

A submersible pump has a hermetically sealed motor and is submerged in water. Submersible pumps push water, instead of pulling water, to the surface. Submersible pumps are inside the well casing and can be located at any depth. Usually, the deeper they sit, the cleaner the water. Typically, they are located at approximately 120’ below ground, but can be as deep as a couple hundred feet. They require much less maintenance than centrifugal pumps, and can run for years without any major problems.

Centrifugal above ground pumps pull water out of the well by using an impeller and centrifugal force. These pumps are on top of the well. Centrifugal pumps are used for discharging a large volume of water through smaller heads, and work on lower pressure while putting out more gallons of water per minute. They are mainly used for shallow wells and cost much less to install than submersible well pumps.

Pumps should be checked to insure that they’re performing as they should. Pumps that are exposed to the weather should be drained out during cold weather to prevent them from freezing. An irrigation system check should be able to determine that the pump is working properly. Heads that are not turning or not popping up usually indicate the system is pumping sand or that there is a leak.

If your pump is not working, first check to make sure that the power is on and the fuses are good. On some pumps there is a reset button on the pump motor control that will also need to be checked. Centrifugal pumps should be checked to make sure they are primed before start up. If the pump has been sitting unused, it could lose its prime. Running this type of pump with no prime could burn up the motor, causing expensive repairs.

Pumps are run on electric current, and we all know that water and electricity do not mix. Unless you are very familiar with well irrigation systems, repairs are best handled by professional irrigation technicians. Getting zapped can be lethal, and that will ruin your whole day.